Dylan Sage has been named in the Blitzboks’ 12-man squad for the second leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Cape Town this weekend.
Sage, along with speedster Rosco Speckman, are the only changes to the squad that won the Plate in Dubai last weekend. The duo replaces World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Werner Kok and playmaker Cecil Afrika, who are sidelined through injury.
Kok will have knee surgery in Cape Town on Thursday, which will keep him out of action for at least six months, while Afrika is expected to return in the next two weeks.
The 23-year-old Sage holds a Saru sevens contract following a string of strong performances for the SA Sevens Academy and will make his Blitzboks debut over the course of the weekend.
Speckman's inclusion will see him feature in his seventh Sevens Series tournament.
Commenting on the two personnel changes, coach Neil Powell says this is a good opportunity for the two newcomers.
'Injuries are part and parcel of the game and it’s unfortunate that we have lost both Cecil and Werner. However, that again give opportunities to Rosco and Dylan, and I am sure they are excited about the challenge,' said Powell.
'The guys are up for it and looking forward to play in front of 110,000 fans over the two days. I am happy with our preparations and we have worked really hard to solve the mistakes we made in Dubai,' he added.
Captain Kyle Brown, who will play in his 50th tournament, says the team is extremely excited by the prospect of playing in front of a capacity crowd at Cape Town Stadium.
'The support of the fans in Cape Town has been absolutely fantastic so far this week. Our performances the previous years in PE has shown that we can handle the pressure of playing at home. We have spoken about the pressure and the expectations of the home crowd and we are embracing the challenge', Brown said.
Blitzboks squad for Cape Town – Chris Dry, Philip Snyman, Francois Hougaard, Kwagga Smith, Dylan Sage, Kyle Brown (c), Cheslin Kolbe, Ryno Benjamin, Justin Geduld, Rosco Speckman, Seabelo Senatla, Juan de Jongh.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images